When to Record with a Studio

††††††††††† Peopleoften wonder why they should record at a studio when home recording equipmentis getting so cheap.To start, thereare many valid reasons to record at home or at a friendís house over aprofessional studio.There are alsomany valid reasons to record in a real studio rather than at a homestudio.The real question would be toask when it is appropriate to chose one over the other.† One must consider the pros and cons of eachone and then decide which is best for the given situation.

††††††††††† Home studioequipment is quite cheap now that Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) can easilybe integrated into a simple home computer.In fact, one could build a basic computer recording setup for about$2,200.To break that down, you can pay$700 for a computer, $200 for a decent replacement sound card and $300 forrecording software.That brings you upto $1,200.Then you will need somenon-computer related equipment.Eventhough you can mix within the computer using your software, youíll need atleast a set of preamps with some mixing capabilities.Not to mention the fact that youíll need something to plugmonitors, headphones and perhaps some extraneous peripherals into.† A basic mixer with usable preamps will costabout $300.You will want to spendanother $500 or so on microphones.Shell out another $100 for some good headphones and another $100 forcables, a good power strip and some other peripherals.† Now spend a couple of years studying,experimenting and learning with youíre new setup and you will be ready to makean album.Of course a computer DAW cancost many thousands of dollars more but you can also get one cheaper.† We are neglecting rooms and acoustictreatment of course which is as important, if not, more important that yourrecording equipment.Never-the-less, ahome recording setup is an investment that can serve you for a long time.

††††††††††† A homerecording setup is handy because you can tend to it at your leisure withoutschedualing time.You take take as muchtime as you want getting your sound set up without a ticking clock.† You can do as many takes as you want and notworry about other people getting impatient.It is also a valuable learning experience to try and do these things foryourself.The knowledge you will attainthrough recording on your own will greatly expand you abilities to work in astudio situation if you ever decide to go that route in the future.

††††††††††† Now, aprofessional studio can save you a lot of money even though you are most likelypaying an hourly rate.A trainedprofesional in charge of the recording end can work very quickly and get agreat sound without a lot of experimentation.They will know how to chose best microphones for the job and willunderstand all the ins and outs of their equipment and acoustic space andtherefore will take less time thanrecording on your own.In astudio, the engineer has all the necessary equipment to capture and mix yourmusic.There is nothing to buy (expeptmabe some tape or a hard drive)Anexperienced engineer in a studio environment can often get a demo recorded forabout $500 to $1,000 which is far less than buying your own set up.† On a similar note, thetime it takes to record an album without at least the help of a skilledengineer is far longer than if you do have an engineer on hand.Also, having somebody else worry about therecording end will relieve the stress of you having to deal with it.† That means that you can concentrate on yourrole as the musician and not worry about all the technical aspects.† This can create a more relaxed and organicexperience overall.It is hard to getcomfortable and just play your part if you have to stare at meters, run over toa computer keyboard or tape deck to start and stop the recording etc.† All in all, an album could take a few daysto record rather than weeks or months like in a home studio.

††††††††††† Asfar as quality goes, you will almost definitely get more for you money out of aprofessional studio.The room in whichyou perform will be treated with the proper materials and arranged so that theacoustics are as good as possible.Remember, no amount of high dollar equipment or tweak time can make upfor bad acoustics captured during the recording process.When recording at a studio, the engineerwill have a better idea of how to capture the sounds to get optimal resultsthan somebody with little or not experience.A good engineer will also be able to determine how to process thevarious sounds of your record in order to bring the best out of them.† When recording at a studio, there will betricks of the trade at your disposal that you may not have thought about whichcan make or break an album.Also, sincethe engineer has different ears from your own, they may catch sonic andperformance related problems that you may miss.

Now a concise list of pros andcons over both options.

Home studio (advantages)

  1. No hourly rate, more condusive to experimentation and perfection of parts
  2. Great learning experience
  3. No schedualing appointments
  4. Often more relaxed and leisurely
  5. Lasting investment

Home studio (disadvantages)

  1. Often poor acoustics
  2. Steep learning curve (takes years to become good at recording)
  3. Inorganic work flow
  4. Robs musicians of concentration on their performance
  5. Potentially expensive to set up

Pro Studio (advantages)

  1. Recording process takes less time
  2. Experienced staff to get better quality
  3. Musicians only have to concentrate on performing
  4. No set up cost on expensive equipment
  5. Flexible, quality hardware

Pro Studio (disadvantages)

  1. Less time for experimentation, must be rehearsed before hand
  2. No lasting investment in equipment
  3. May be difficult to get schedual worked out
  4. Cost is dependant on musicianís skill
  5. Have to transport musical equipment to location

You will notice that there arefive examples of each category in order to be fair to each.† Since both systems have their advantages anddisadvantages, one can determine that a comination of those ideals arebest.Many people will record scratchtracks (jam tracks) and then start the basic recording process on theirown.Then they will go to a pro studioto record more difficult things like drums, piano and vocals.† They often mix in the pro studio as well.† Some people find it best to record theirwhole album in a commercial setting to speed the process up and then take theraw tracks back to their home studio to mix.† Many people do the initial tracking such as guitar, bass and drums as well as vocals at a large studio and then go to a home studio or smaller studio to do the more time consuming overdubs.There are infinite variations to these approaches.† What you chose is purely up to you.† Just remember that you have to live with theresults.Some guidelines to help youwith your decision.

Remember, this is just a basic guideline chart.† It does not cover all variables or degreesof determination.

Guide to Choosing

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